Working in Ruins

The Wapping Hydraulic Power Station closed in 1977. The building was left to become an unexpected relic, at odds with the rapidly changing face of Wapping. As much of the landscape was torn down to make way for new property developments, the Power Station was left to cultivate ivy, ferns and fungus. Human activity didn’t cease there however and, during the 1980s, it was used as a location for music videos. Jules set eyes on it in 1991 while scouting for a venue to stage WPT opera, Blood Wedding, and saw instantly its artistic potential. Dirt, a dance performance directed by Lea Anderson, was the first WPT commission to take place in the space in 1993. The rest of the decade gave way to succession of ambitious projects from across creative spectrum, including Duncan Macaskill’s Acoustic Shadows and Anya Gallaccio’s Intensities and Surfaces. Jules secured the freehold to the building in 1998, preceding a two year period of renovation led by architect Josh Wright and Shed54 ahead of The Wapping Project’s official unveiling in 2000.